Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, [one] of the priests who were in [a]Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came during the thirteenth year (627 b.c.) of the reign of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. 3 It came [to Jeremiah] also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, [continuing] until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, [and continuing] until the exile of [the people of] Jerusalem in the fifth month (July-August, 586 b.c.).(A)
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument],
And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own];
I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(B)
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
For I am [only] a young man.”(C)
But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am [only] a young man,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
“Do not be afraid of them [or their hostile faces],
For I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the Lord.
9 Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me,
“Behold (hear Me), I have put My words in your mouth.
“See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To uproot and break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”
The Almond Branch and Boiling Pot
11 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an [b]almond tree.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am [actively] watching over My word to fulfill it.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north [its mouth about to pour out on the south, on Judea].” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “Out of the north the evil [which the prophets foretold as the result of national sin] will reveal itself and spill out on all the people of the land. 15 For, behold, I will call all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord; “and they will come and each one will set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its surrounding walls, and against all the cities of Judah [as My judicial act, the consequence of Judah’s deliberate disobedience]. 16 I will speak My judgments against them for all the wickedness of those who have abandoned (rejected) Me, offered sacrifices or burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the [idolatrous] works of their own hands. 17 But you [Jeremiah], [c]gird up your loins [in preparation]! Get up and tell them all which I command you. Do not be distraught and break down at the sight of their [hostile] faces, or I will bewilder you before them and allow you to be overcome. 18 Now behold, I have made you today like a fortified city and like an iron pillar and like bronze walls against the whole land—against the [successive] kings of Judah, against its leaders, against its priests, and against the people of the land [giving you divine strength which no hostile power can overcome].(D) 19 They will fight against you, but they will not [ultimately] prevail over you, for I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,” says the Lord.
- Jeremiah 1:1 Jeremiah’s hometown, two or three miles north of Jerusalem.
- Jeremiah 1:11 The almond tree was known as the “awake tree” because it was the first tree to bud in the new year (late January). It was the symbol of watchfulness.
- Jeremiah 1:17 Gird up your loins, a phrase often found in the Bible, may be an urgent call to get ready for immediate action, or it may be a call to prepare for a coming action or event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. To keep from impeding the wearer during any vigorous activity, e.g. battle, exercise, strenuous work, etc., the loose ends of a garment (tunic, cloaks, mantle, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the girdle. The girdle was a band about six inches wide that had fasteners in front. It was worn around the loins (the midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips) and was normally made of leather.